Rag Doll Ch. 04bybeachbum1958©
Thanks again to Mriceman1964 for his view of the real world, and to Firefly for her ability to tease the better part of me into whatever story I tell.
This brings Nick & Ashley's story to a close, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed writing it. If you liked it, please rate it, if you didn't then please tell me why!
I sat huddled against the bathroom wall, the cold tiles feeling frigid against the heat radiating from my face. My throat burned, and my sides ached from vomiting so long and so hard. I couldn't think straight, except to home in on that one huge, horrifying fact. Ashley had been raped, violated, and abused, and it was no impulse crime, no isolated opportunist attack on a defenceless girl; it had been planned, masterminded, set-up; that sick, sick fucker, what kind of mental state did you have to be in to do something like that?
I could hear Mum crying, weeping hysterically as David tried to console her and calm her down, and I thought briefly that it should be me comforting her, but I couldn't bring myself to stand, walk in there and see her face, not knowing what I did now. Now I wanted to kill someone, at last I felt the urge to truly hurt someone, to keep on hurting them until they were past all pain.
Barbara, my real Mum in all but fact, the one person who'd kept me sane as she brought me up, had unveiled what my father had done, how he'd plotted and planned and carried out that cowardly, evil, bastardly act for no reason other than to salvage his own ego. Barbara had told us how he did it, sent Mum all the details she could find, and then she'd died; the postmark on the envelope was the day I was busily getting my new passport. I was preparing for a new life, and she was losing hers.
I sat bolt upright as a horrifying thought shot through me; dear God, was this why she'd died? The thought of that was too terrible to contemplate, and I heard a low moaning; it was a while before I realised it was me, hovering on the edge of hysteria. She'd died after telling Mum the truth, had she died because she'd told Mum the truth, had she died for helping me come here? I begged God, Yahweh, Buddha, anyone or anything who was listening; please not that, don't make it my fault, please don't let her have died because of me, not after all she'd done for me, anything but that...
I dropped my head down to my hands and cried for her, for what I was sure I'd brought on her, and swore again the same oath I'd sworn in London, after I'd seen the news of her death. I swore that I would give him a lifetime of pain and blood and suffering for all he'd done. I swore I would be there to shove the knife in him, and when I'd stared into his eyes, and seen him recognise me and know who had stuck that knife into him. Then I was going to twist it, and twist it again, and cause him pain that no prayers to God, man or devil would release him from.
Mum had said she was glad I wasn't the man my father was, but now I knew she was wrong because I wanted to do things to him that only a sick, depraved, evil rat-fuck like him would be capable of. If I was my father's son, so much the better, I would hurt him in ways only he could devise for what he'd done to me and mine, to my Ashley, to my Mum, and most of all to the one I had always loved like a mother.
I stared into the white tiled wall, seeing Barbara's face, needing her so much it was a physical pain locked in the base of my throat, trying to hear what she was saying to me, trying desperately to recapture the sound of her voice, her laughter, but my mind's eye continually turned to horrific fantasies of how it had been for her at the end, what he'd done to her, the woman I had loved since my earliest childhood, and who'd loved me back unconditionally, who'd made me her own, and had finally made me leave her at the mercy of that evil, sadistic...
"Nick! Nick, where are you?"
I came back to reality with a bump, all the revenge fantasies vanishing on hearing a male voice calling me. It took a few seconds before I recognised it. Dr. Nixon, it was Dr. Nixon. Mum!
I scrambled to my feet, and staggered as a sudden wave of dizziness rolled over me.
"I'm...here, I'm coming...!" I croaked, my throat burning and rasping from the acid vomit I'd been spewing out, and I realised I needed to wash my mouth and clear my head of the horrible taste and smell of what I'd been doing. I also splashed my face with cold water, trying to revive myself and clear some of the fog from my brain.
Finally feeling a little better, I stumbled back to the living room, to find Mum still huddled against David, and a small part of me thought how natural she looked being held by someone again. But the memory of what I'd read returned when I saw that damned, hateful, horrifying letter on the table in front of her. Barbara had spoken to me one last time and what she'd told me had destroyed what remained of my old life, filled me with rage and nausea, and given me one more reason to hate that hell-bastard I called a father.
I knew what I had sworn was never going to happen; people like me, like us, never get to take revenge or plot payback, we can only fantasize about it, and that knowledge gnawed at me as well. We would have to live with this knowledge forever, and that son of a whore was going to live a life of freedom and ease, never paying for what he'd done, happily giving us the finger from 3,000 miles away.
I squatted down next to Mum and put my hand on hers. She jumped like she'd been burned, her eyes flicking open and seeing me.
"Nicky, how could he...how...what...?" she stumbled, her fingers twining in mine as she squeezed our hands together. She was still near tears, as she looked from me to David and back again.
"She never did anything...!"
I didn't know what to say; boasting about what I'd do to him was a hollow waste of time and wasn't going to undo this serpents tangle, and all I could do was lean my forehead against her arm to show her I was with her, that she wasn't alone here. The sight of her in distress was making my eyes well-up too, and I was still having trouble believing a man could store up that much hate and rage to commit such an ungodly, diabolical act against an innocent girl.
David was reading the letter again, a look of profound disgust on his face as he absorbed the full nastiness of what Barbara had revealed. Suddenly he looked keenly at me; obviously something had struck him.
"Nicky, what date was this letter sent, please, check the postmark..."
I didn't need to, I'd already seen it.
"Last Friday morning, it's time-stamped. And yes, Barbara killed herself that evening, after she posted this. So what, how does that help?" I asked dully, crushingly aware that we were helpless to do anything about it, people like us don't have the resources to make something of a mess like this and so we just had to live with the injustice of it, especially Ashley, the one person in all this who couldn't possibly have roused any kind of ire in that man and yet she'd paid a price no-once should have had to pay.
David looked thoughtful.
"Nick, I have a couple of friends with the FBI, I think they should see this; this looks like something that should be investigated properly, by the federal authorities. Julia, can I take this with me? I promise I'll keep you fully informed whatever happens."
Mum nodded agreement, and I shrugged because I felt deep-down inside that nothing was going to fix this, and that smug bastard hiding 3,000 miles away in England was going to get away with this scot-free.
Mum spoke up, talking to David and me.
"Nicky? David? I don't know if anything will come of this, so please, please, don't let Ashley know about this; that poor child's had enough to deal with without handing her any false hopes or pretending that this is going to come out right, so just keep this between us, OK? We let David's friends do what they can. In the meantime, life goes on as normal. Will you both promise me you won't say anything until something can be done about all this?"
I exchanged glances with David, but Mum was right; the last thing I wanted to do was rake this over for Ashley all over again, but I certainly wasn't happy about keeping secrets from her. If David's friends could swing a way to make that bastard pay for what he'd done, then I would be the first one to tell her, let her know that she had some hope of justice, but until then I would keep silent.
"I...promise, mum, I won't say a word until it's time to tell her. But I get to tell her, OK? If we have a way to drag that sick bitch's bastard over here and stuff him in a hole forever, I want to be the one to tell her, so she'll have no doubts as to how I feel about him. Agreed? "
Mum nodded, her hand tightening on mine as she did, and David nodded as well, sealing our conspiracy. I really hated the idea of basically lying to my girl; even if I was lying by omission, I was still lying, but I hoped she'd understand that we'd been trying to do something about it. It would be so much worse if she found out that we'd known, but had done nothing...
David stood up, folded the papers and documents Barbara had sent and slid them back in the envelope.
"Nick, as you and I were going for breakfast, for the sake of normalcy I think we should go do that, and I think you should join us, Julia; let's make a start on getting everything back to normal as quickly as we can."
I could see she wasn't really in the mood, hell, neither was I, but I understood that we had to try and make things look normal again. Mum and I would carry this if it meant Ashley didn't have to. She forced a thin smile, trying to maintain the charade.
"This wasn't the build-up to a date I was anticipating, but yes, I think I'd like that..."
We went to breakfast at a diner David knew, false smiles pasted on our faces, pretending that there was nothing wrong in our world, working hard at letting this all crust over so we wouldn't give ourselves away. It was going to be a hard charade to carry out; I can't lie to save my life, and I really didn't know how I could keep this from her for very long; only time would tell.
During breakfast, David asked me to come with him that afternoon when he went to see his friends, as he wanted to take me to meet his friend with the specialist European car repair shop. Mum would collect Ashley from school, telling her I was with David and I'd gone to see a man about a job, as had been the plan this morning before the world caved-in. Hopefully, if I was offered a job, I could be happy and off-edge enough to not think about what kind of day I'd really had, and Ashley would remain none the wiser. It was a thin hope; she was so in-tune with me she could almost read my mind, but I held on to it.
After he dropped Mum back at home, David asked me if I could talk with him, in private. I agreed, and so we drove back to his house, where we had a long discussion about my father, what kind of man he was, what my brothers were like, and my life with Barbara. As we talked, I could feel myself uncoiling inside. Telling this man about the life I'd had before I came here, about school, about England was almost therapeutic, relaxing, even, and I warmed to him even more. His penetrating wit and warm sense of humour were a delight, and I found myself comparing him to my father and finding no points of comparison. I know now what he was doing, but right then I was drawn to him, not understanding his motive for drawing me out but feeling better for the experience. He'd said to me before he was no therapist; I think I'd have argued that point with him now.
Eventually, after several coffees and a long, searching, and invigorating talk he dropped me back home, my spirits considerably lifted, reminding me that he would be picking me up at two o'clock to drop the documents off at the FBI then we would go to meet his friend.
While he was dropping me off, he had another, brief chat with mum, and whatever he said seemed to have lifted her spirits considerably by the time he left. Mum actually smiled at me several times; it appeared David was good for her too...
Mum and I had a light lunch and were just clearing the remnants when David arrived. Mum looked suddenly worried again, but David reassured her that all he was doing was taking those hateful documents to his friends, and they could decide how to proceed; he and I were focusing on landing me a job, so not to worry, and we'd see her later that afternoon.
David's friend, Mark was a true Brit-car enthusiast, and his shop, Mark One Auto-Sport, was a mecca of classic British roadsters. Scattered around the shop were a selection of MG A's and BGT's being stripped and refurbished, an original Mini Cooper S with rally roundels side-by-side with a pristine Triumph Stag and a stunning silver TVR Cerbera. In addition, a Morgan 4/4 with the Ford Germany Zetec engine, and several older Jaguar's were in various stages of repair. My eyes were drawn to a beautiful Caterham Seven in the classic Lotus livery of British Racing Green with the yellow nose-cone, and Mark followed my gaze.
"She's a beauty, isn't she?" he asked me, and I grinned back at him.
"This is a customer vehicle," he said, "but one day I'm going to get myself an original Lotus 7, with the Colin Chapman badge, just so I can say I own one; then let's see David lord it over me with that Bristol of his!"
We talked about what I'd done in college, the manufacturer certifications I had, and the specific diagnostic skills I had learned, and he appeared satisfied.
"OK Nick, I think you have what I need. I can't start you as a Senior Technician, so I'll make you a deal; you sit out the probationary period as Junior Technician and study for your ASE certification, at my expense, and we'll talk about advancement after your probation is up. The money's not that great to start with, but it'll get better if you show me what you can do. Deal?"
I looked over at David for a cue, and he smiled and nodded slightly, so I grinned.
"When can I start?"
Mark grinned back.
"Bring your Social Security documentation as soon as you get it, but I see no reason why you can't start...a week Monday? That should be enough time for all your paperwork to be finalized. I have a couple of MG SRV8's and a 1986 Esprit S3 HCi due in for servicing about then, so they're yours. Welcome aboard!"
I was grinning like a pumpkin; I had a job!
Mark walked me around the shop, and introduced me to the other technicians, who were intrigued at the idea of having an Englishman working with them, and I had to explain several times I was an American, brought up in England, which they seemed to think was odd; if I was American, why did I sound so British...? That aside, they were a friendly bunch, and genuinely welcoming, and I even got to potter around with a couple of them inside the engine bay of a lovely Jaguar XJS while Mark talked to David; I was looking forward to working with them.
After washing up, David drove us to the FBI building on McCarty Avenue, and introduced me to his friend, Special Agent Mike Walker. After a short preamble, David handed over the documents Barbara had sent us.
"Mike, this arrived from England this morning. Nick's stepmother sent this to him last week; she sent Nick to London to escape his father, and the next day she was dead, apparently she took her own life the same day these documents were mailed, last Friday afternoon, in England. She and Nick were badly beaten by his father the night before, which is why he was sent away. Nick, do you mind...?"
I stood up and unbuttoned my shirt, pulling it up at the back so Agent Walker could see my back. I heard the sharp intake of breath as he surveyed what that man had done to me.
"Jesus Christ, what the fu...!" I heard him mutter under his breath.
David quickly checked my back and told me to do my shirt up, before turning to the FBI agent.
"His father did this to him five days ago. He abducted Nick when he was a small child and took him to England, and Nick only returned a few days ago when he found out where his Mother was. This is the kind of man we're dealing with here, Mike, and I have to be honest, the coincidence of Nick's stepmother mailing these documents to Nick's mother, his ex-wife, and then dying the following day is stretching my credibility to the limit. Do me a favor, please; ask the police in England if you can what their investigations into Barbara Davies' 'suicide' turned-up, if anything? I just have a bad feeling about this, and from what I've seen in those documents, something bad and very dangerous is going on here; 'by the pricking of my thumbs...', you know what I mean?"
Agent Walker nodded slowly.
"I'll pass this on to Alan Dubowski, he's the Special Agent in Charge here in Albany, I think he's definitely going to want to see this; he can get this moved up to a higher level if anyone can. Leave this with me and I'll see if I can get some quick action on it."
We stood up to leave, and Agent Walker smiled at David.
"Please, give my best to Judy. How's she doing these days?"
David grinned back.
"Judy's...Judy, what more can I say?!"
Agent Walker grinned even wider.
"I heard that! One day either she'll be working with us, or her picture's gonna be on that wall out there with a reward notice, and I wouldn't want to bet which one it's going to be!"
David laughed out loud, and we took our leave of his friend, an intern escorting us to the lobby.
I was quiet on the way home, and eventually David asked me what was troubling me. I stayed silent, not wanting to talk about what I was thinking, until I noticed we'd arrived at David's house.
"OK Nick, we had this talk this morning, tell me, what's going on?" He asked.
"I want that son of a bitch to stand in front of me so I can rip his fucking throat out, that's what I want; I want him to look into my eyes as I kick the chair away from under him, and I want to see the look on his face and the fear in his eyes when he gets that short drop and the sudden stop! I want him to scream in pain, and know it's me doing it to him, and I..!"
David cut me short.
"Stop it Nick, now! This is not you, and you know it. We've done all we can, you've done everything you could; now it's up to the authorities to drag that bastard over here and make him pay. Leave it alone, Nick, revenge is not you, there's too much of your mother in you to behave like him! I heard what you did to those two boys in the burger joint; anyone else would have put them in hospital, but you had enough restraint to teach them a sharp lesson without actually injuring them; that's the mark of a man, not the capacity to plot bloody revenge. Confucius once said 'Before you embark on a journey of revenge, first dig two graves', and you know what? He was right; don't deliberately set out to become the man your father is, you're better than that!"
I sat there and listened to him because I respected him, and because he made sense, but the anger remained, and I had no way of cooling it down without feeling that I'd let Mum and Ashley down. As I pondered his words, I could feel myself calming down; one day, the people here would yank that complacent bastard out of his smug little hideout and stretch his neck, and we'd get, if not justice, then at least payback. Then, we could walk away secure in the knowledge that he was paying for everything he'd done, everything he'd set in motion, and all the hurt he'd caused the innocent.
David watched me calming down and accepting that this was how it would have to be, then grinned, and patted me on the shoulder.
"Good man, that's the stuff. Don't worry, Nick, just have faith in the system, he will fall, believe me!"
I had to grin at his optimism, and clambered out of the car with him, wondering why we'd come back here, so I asked him. David just grinned at me and told me to follow him. He opened one of the four garage doors and there was a silver Dodge Caliber.